This past month there have been four physical attacks on soccer referees in the state of Oregon alone. They have happened in youth and adult leagues and none of them have been taken lightly. This article details the most recent attacks here in Oregon on local referees, luckily none of them were severely hurt. Article
But that brings me to ask the question, Why in the world would you want to become a referee if this is what you had to deal with every time you come to work? Every time you step onto the field you are already the most hated person out there, you will always be wrong and you will always miss every foul, this of course is according to the fans that sit there and watch and just KNOW that they could call a much better game or the player that feels like they were wronged.
As a player do you make 100% of your passes, your shots or your traps, most likely not. When you are at work do you get through the day without a single mistake? Most likely not. So why are referees expected to make 100% of the calls and to get them right every single time and why do players/fans feel the need to yell at them, do you get yelled at everyday when you don’t do your job correctly or you take an extra few seconds before you send in that TPS report?
Being a referee is one of the most thankless jobs on the planet and yet many men and women do it day in and day out. For many of them it is the love of the game that keeps them coming back, for others they love the pressure to be 100% and for many it’s a way to learn life skills that they can use in other areas of their life such as conflict resolution, game management, and confidence.
We value our referees because at the Sports Park it is the hardest job we have. They are the frontline of the business and have the most interaction with the customers. If we don’t properly prepare our referees for the frontline then we have failed them and ourselves as a business.
At CSP we go above and beyond what other facilities around the country do to make sure that we are providing every game with a quality referee and that the referees meet our high standards. All of our referees must take an extensive test and pass with a 90% or higher, they must then complete a training program and be signed off on by two senior officials. Next they are constantly evaluated every 2-4 weeks by management and senior officials to make sure that they are providing the best experience possible for our customers. We also take the game feedback forms very seriously and factor those into the referee evaluation.
Since we work hard with the officials to make sure they are top notch we also expect common courtesy from our players and fans. We have a code of conduct in place so that referees have the opportunity to do their jobs in a hostile free work environment. If we did not look out for our referees we wouldn’t have a business to operate as we wouldn’t have our frontline.
The next time you go out on the field whether it is here at CSP, outdoor, intramurals or a Timbers game, take a minute and think how hard it is to do your job everyday and look at the referees and their job from that perspective.